The moment we flinch from confronting BNP lies is the moment they have won

Jack Straw has caused a little controversy and certainly a great deal of attention for his decision to appear on tonight’s Question Time, which will also feature Nick Griffin.

I for one support Jack’s decision wholeheartedly. The British National Party need to be challenged. From the same ideological cesspit as the Nazis and the National Front, the BNP are no different from any other far-right organisation and have spent the last few years peddling fear and racial hatred and encouraging ideas that peoples are different and unequal.

These parties have always had a clear tactic – exploit an unhappiness or wrong in society and then find a racial scapegoat. In the 1920s and 30s Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany’s depression and poverty. Today the BNP have found a new scapegoat – the Muslim community. They prey on deprived areas where unemployment is high, and say “it’s their fault – they are taking your jobs and money”. Yet the evidence does not back this up. The moment we flinch from confronting the lies told by the BNP is the moment they have won.

Blackburn Labour Party have never been frightened of standing up to far-right thugs. As a councillor I represent Mill Hill ward, where the BNP secured their first – and hopefully last – victory on Blackburn with Darwen Council. Did we run away? No. We argued back on the doorstep, in the pubs and in the public meetings. And now we’ve forced them out.

Jack Straw himself has always been at the forefront when it comes to standing up to Nazis and tackling the lies they have told. He is the only Member of Parliament who holds regular open air meetings in the town centre, where any member of the public can question him on any issue – no matter how unpleasant or controversial. And Jack has been there in the communities where the BNP have tried to cause division.

Nationally the BNP are getting too much of a free run to say what they want and behave like some kind of oppressed group. The people of Mill Hill soon worked out that the BNP had no answers to today’s social and economic problems. With persistent challenge to them nationally we will get that message across and make sure that they are never elected to the European Parliament (or any other body for that matter) again.

I back Jack Straw for his decision to go on Question Time tonight. It’s time for Labour to take the fight to Griffin and the BNP!

Author: Damian Talbot

Damian is the Chair of Blackburn Labour Party. He was elected as a councillor for Mill Hill ward in 2007 and also works in the offices of Jack Straw.

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